California: ‘They Are Chasing Me Out’

by Jay Nordlinger

On the homepage today, I begin a “California Journal.” It will run to four parts. (The first is here.) There will be some light notes and “heavy.” There will be some notes about my experience at Claremont McKenna College, long famous among conservatives, and recently rather infamous.

There are many opinions about California: a golden state, an earthly paradise; a former paradise ruined by Big Government and runaway illegal immigration. Some people hold those opinions in their head simultaneously. I understand.

I have had a variety of responses, and would like to publish one, elegiac, and angry:

As a third-generation Californian, I am sad to see what has happened to my state. Not the crowds, per se, but the overweening government, driven by a legislature dominated by one party.

In the 1920s, my mother’s family came here to start up a business. My father’s family came and went many times courtesy of the U.S. Army, but always stayed in love with California and returned here.

I also came and went, but was always seeking a return, and return I did. Starting in the late 1970s, I started businesses here.

Anything was possible. Dream big. If it fails, start over. All of that. I remember Ronald Reagan calling entrepreneurs “heroes.” You sure don’t hear that much anymore. You don’t even hear the word “entrepreneur.”

In any event, they are chasing me out. The ticking time bomb of state debt and their grasping greed for our money is stifling. The tricks they play to shake us down are increasingly annoying.

I am mad about this. I spent a good portion of my life “California dreamin’,” trying to get back here. Now they are running me out.

I think of a Time-magazine cover, published when I was a kid. Hang on, I’ve just looked it up: It was in June 1978, and it showed Howard Jarvis, the anti-tax activist, shaking his fist. That’s the spirit.

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